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Pointer Sisters Try Pop Middle Road

September 23, 1986|RANDY LEWIS | Times Staff Writer

Pravda's unintentionally humorous mistranslation of the Pointer Sisters' 1983 hit "Neutron Dance" was way off the mark: Politics has never played a big part in the Pointers' repertoire. But in the 13 years since their first album was released, the sultry sisters of soul have become experts at cultural espionage.

Although the trio's 90-minute performance Sunday at the Pacific Amphitheatre contained little new material, it underscored how the group has evolved and thrived in the pop mainstream by adapting and popularizing significant trends from rock's fringes.

The Pointer Sisters' concerts are always musically vibrant and visually colorful affairs. Like last year's tour, Sunday's show concentrated on 1985's "Contact" album and their 1983 hit-single-filled "Break Out" LP, although Ruth Pointer said the group will have a new album out in October.

Wearing a succession of wild outfits that could have been cut from Jackson Pollock paintings, Ruth, Anita and June excelled both at pop hits that emphasize hooks and inspired arrangements, as well as blues and gospel-tinged songs that showcased each woman's vocals.

They also employ a subtle form of musical infiltration, showing their largely middle-America audience that the shock of the new is simply the fear of the unfamiliar. That approach was evident in all aspects of the performance, whether in a guitar riff borrowed from Prince, dance steps originated by street-corner break dancers or the punk-inspired modified Mohawk worn by June.

The group begins a four-night engagement at the Universal Amphitheatre on Thursday.

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